Wednesday morning I found myself in tears on my bedroom floor after an unsuccessful phone call with the billing department of my utility company. I felt my voice get shaky near the end of the call as I muttered the words, “thanks for your help, I hope you have a good day” despite the fact that they could not help me and I was not having a good day.
Once the phone clicked to silence, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer and decided to allow myself to sit in these emotions for a bit. I gathered myself, took some deep breaths, and reflected on the moment.
Asking for help is hard. I love helping others, problem solving, and offering solutions or services to assist any way that I can. However, when it comes to asking for help for myself, I feel paralyzed, afraid, or embarrassed. It was challenging for me to make the phone call and ask for help on an unexpectedly high bill. It was hard for me to hear the customer service representative tell me there was nothing they could do. I felt defeated, rejected, and overwhelmed. But I know that asking for help is a form of self-care that I need to continue to practice.
Later that day, after my emotions settled in, I got in my car to pick up my boyfriend from work. Little did I know that my car had a flat tire and I couldn’t leave my street. Did I have a spare? Nope. When I am feeling frustrated at life circumstances that are out of my control, a question I like to ask myself is, “what lesson am I supposed to learn right now?” This was the perfect opportunity to practice asking for help once again. So, I called my dad. Did he have a spare? Nope. This felt like the second failure of me asking for help in one day and I was feeling really defeated.
Finally, I called road-side assistance, and as they say, third times a charm, they were able to help me! It is hard for me to overcome emotions of failure and continue asking for help. But being able to admit that I need support is part of maintaining my self-care. This is a humbling realization that self-care is not always luxurious. It is the daily practice of recognizing what my body and mind needs to maintain wellness, and that includes asking for help.
I want to remind anyone who is reading this: you are not a burden when you need to ask for help. There are communities, professionals, resources, and services that are available to help in all situations. If you ask for help once and don’t find the assistance you need, try again. Keep trying. Keep asking. It is worth it. You don’t have to struggle alone.